Yep. Awesome. - Andy Lyons
Vanderbilt will get to avenge an early-season loss when they meet Ole Miss in the SEC Tournament semifinals. Can they upset the Rebels and their high profile gunner Marshall Henderson?
Editor's note: tomorrow's 16-hour turnaround has us scrambling for a proper preview. Fortunately, much of what we said about the Rebels back in January still applies. However, a few details differ:
1. Marshall Henderson will either shoot his team into, or out of this game.
2. Reginald Buckner, who came up huge with a 14-point, 11-rebound, three block performance when these teams met in January, is the player primed to give Vanderbilt the most problems. While Vandy can shut down almost anyone on the perimeter, a big, physical player like Buckner can bully Josh Henderson and Rod Odom inside.
3. The Rebels have very little to gain with a win, but a potential NCAA Tournament berth to lose if Vandy finds a way to defeat them. On the other hand, the Commodores will be playing for pride and to create the foundation for a run in 2014. That doesn't sound like much, but it's carried them to a 6-1 record in their last seven games. That makes them one of the SEC's hottest teams right now.
4. Vanderbilt played for revenge on Friday against Kentucky, and they played their best game of the 2012-2013 season in their upset win. They'll have a similar motivation in hand after Henderson's 35-foot prayer lifted the Rebels to an unlikely victory at Memorial Gym.
That said, here's what we wrote about Ole Miss and the blueprint to beat them back when the SEC season was still fresh.
Ole Miss (23-8, 12-6 SEC, unranked)
Other Horrible Losses: at Mississippi State, at South Carolina.